FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Washington Off Highway Vehicle Alliance files lawsuit to block transfer of ORV funds to State Parks
Olympia, Washington – 5 October 2009
The Washington Off Highway Vehicle Alliance has teamed up with the Northwest Motorcycle Association to file a lawsuit against the State of Washington to block the transfer of over 9.5 million dollars in offroad vehicle funds from the Nonhighway and Offroad Vehicle Activities (NOVA) account to State Parks. Attorney James Buchal will be representing both organizations.
This spring the Legislature passed House Bill 1244, which transferred the money out of the NOVA account. The NOVA account money comes from the gas tax paid by offroad vehicle users and the license tab fees on offroad vehicles (ORV).
According to the Washington State Constitution gas tax collected must be used only for roads. To comply with that the state allows refunds on gas tax paid for other uses.
In 1972 the offroad vehicle community supported passage of legislation that waived their right to a direct refund of the taxes they paid for ORV fuel in exchanged for having those same funds “refunded” into a dedicated account to promote and protect their sport. Later on, their ORV license tab money was added to this account too. The NOVA program was established to administer these funds.
Now that all the money is going to State Parks and State Parks is not going to spend the money on offroad vehicle recreation, this is no longer a legitimate refund for the benefit of these taxpayers.
The NOVA funding is normally distributed by the State Recreation and Conservation Funding Board in the form of grants. These grants are awarded to governmental agencies such as the United States Forest Service, the Washington Department of Natural Resources and various counties. It is the primary source of funding for offroad vehicle recreation and for law enforcement on public lands in Washington.
If this funding is not returned to benefit the taxpayers that paid for it, families and their children throughout the State of Washington will lose the healthy, outdoor recreational opportunities they were promised and for which they paid their taxes and ORV tab fees, as the trails they have enjoyed together are closed. And public employees throughout Washington who maintain and patrol those trails will lose their jobs.
The Washington Off Highway Vehicle Alliance and the Northwest Motorcycle Association are nonprofit organizations dedicated to protecting and promoting off highway vehicle and offroad motorcycle recreation.
Political Action Committee Chairman – Washington Off Highway Vehicle Alliance
Legislative/Land Use Coordinator – Northwest Motorcycle Association
P.O. Box 61161
Seattle, WA 98141